Friday, January 8, 2010

Our Top 10 whisky blogs

Whisky for Everyone Top 10The number of whisky blogs on the internet has risen massively over the last couple of years and each contributes to a lively and vibrant whisky community online. From comments that we have received, a whisky blog seems to tap into something in people - they don't want to wade through endless pages of convoluted notes, they like up-to-date and honest reviews that are concise and describe whisky in layman's terms and they value the writer's personal opinions as these are perceived to be more genuine than manufacturer's notes or other PR material.

A couple of other blogs have stolen our thunder a bit by publishing articles about the number and quality of whisky blogs on the web, since we began writing this post. But that is the beauty of the online whisky community - there is enough room for everyone's voice and opinions. The fact that each blog is written by different people, with different writing styles and with differing opinions is what makes it so interesting.

We have decided to champion some of the best whisky blogs that we have discovered since we first joined the community less than two years ago. We have made many friends and acquaintances along the way and this Top 10 is a tribute to each one's work (well actually it's a Top 11 as we couldn't choose which one of our favourites to leave one out!). It would be unfair to rank these, as each offers something unique and which you prefer is up to you, so we have listed them in alphabetical order. A similar list of our favourite whisky websites will follow shortly.

cask strength logoCask Strength
www.caskstrength.blogspot.com
This is one of our fellow London based blogs and we regularly bump in to writers Neil and Joel at various functions around the city. Cask Strength offers an eclectic mix of informative, highly descriptive tasting notes, whisky hot topics and interesting travel pieces relating to whisky (check out the reviews of their trips to Japan and Islay). This feels different from any other whisky blog, so you must pay a visit to 'Cask Strength Towers'. Look out for their ever changing 'profile pictures' also!

dr whiskyDr. Whisky
www.drwhisky.blogspot.com
One of the pioneers of the online whisky blog, Sam began Dr. Whisky around three years ago. His 'Malt Missions', which are now totalling almost 400, hold legendary status and offer probably the most descriptive and thought provoking tasting notes available anywhere. He also, importantly, has some background to the whisky in question, giving it context. In addition, there are articles on hot industry topics and while he may not post as regularly as in the past, each one is of the highest quality and a 'must read'. Go check out what the Doctor has ordered!

edinburgh whiskyEdinburgh Whisky
www.edinburghwhiskyblog.com
Lucas and Chris write one of our favourite blogs and cover pretty much anything whisky related. They are lucky to be situated in Edinburgh and bring their industry experience to the world from there. Edinburgh Whisky includes comprehensive tasting reviews, bar reviews, whisky news, book and website reviews, cocktail recipes and interviews with industry experts. They are also never frightened to offer a controversial viewpoint, that others may think but dare to write!

guid scotch drink logoGuid Scotch Drink
www.guidscotchdrink.com
A cracking blog that is written by Jason Johnstone-Yellin. It was formerly an extension of the Whisky Host website but Jason has now decided to go solo and has transferred everything to this new site. The blog offers whisky reviews, latest news and various other snippets of information and fun video clips. Our particular favourite parts are their 'What did I learn this week?' (a section which breaks down both the serious and slightly more irreverent whisky related news/stories from around the world) and the entertaining 'Say what?' series, which explains some of the more unusual tasting notes found in some whisky reviews. Excellent thorough tasting notes also.

richard paterson - master blenderMaster Blender
www.themasterblender.com
This is the online presence of the legendary Whyte & Mackay master blender Richard Paterson (well, in addition to his Facebook and Twitter accounts and Whyte & Mackay's website!). Richard offers a wealth of insider industry information, the workings of Whyte & Mackay and even the odd recipe/cocktail in which you can use his whiskies. Anyone that has met him will not be surprised to know that it is written in a very expressive yet informative way. There is naturally a huge Whyte & Mackay bias but Richard's experience in the industry cannot be ignored.

nonjatta logoNonjatta
www.nonjatta.blogspot.com
If you need to know anything about Japanese whisky, then look no further than the excellent Nonjatta. It is the most comprehensive guide to Japanese whisky and the Japanese whisky industry that is available in English. It is written by Chris Bunting, a British journalist and whisky lover, who lives in Tokyo and he has an impressive list of guest writers including Ulf Buxrud, Serge Valentin and Dr. Whisky. The back catalogue of tasting notes is extensive and very impressive.

scotch hobbyistScotch Hobbyist
www.scotchhobbyist.com
We really enjoy reading this blog and it includes down to earth, informative tasting notes and other whisky news and views. Jeff, the writer and founder of Scotch Hobbyist, has also devised his own unique scoring system that ensures he is consistent between all of his tastings. We like the way this system is used and the part where he explains what he thinks would improve or decrease the score given and which other whisky the sample can be compared to.

what does john know?What Does John Know?
www.blog.maltadvocate.com
What does John know? Pretty much everything that you need to know about whisky! The John in question is John Hansell, the publisher and editor of the esteemed whisky magazine Malt Advocate. If you want to keep up-to-date with everything to do with the world of whisky - new and forthcoming releases, distillery and industry news, tasting notes, PR/press releases - then this is the place. John has many followers and some of the comment streams at the end of posts are well worth checking out, as there are few places where you will see such whisky debate. John is a true whisky guru.

whisky fun logoWhisky Fun
www.whiskyfun.com
Serge Valentin is the brains behind Whisky Fun and he has almost single handedly pioneered whisky online. Serge is a legend in the whisky world and started Whisky Fun seven years ago. He also part-runs the iconic Malt Maniacs website. Whisky Fun is an eclectic mix of highly detailed tasting notes, news and music/concert reviews. The back catalogue that has built up over time is massive and almost any whisky that you care to try and find will be on there - you must check it out. A unique, excellent blog that all other whisky blogs aspire to be.

whisky notes logoWhisky Notes
www.whiskynotes.be
An excellent blog written by Ruben, who seems to share his time between living in Spain and Belgium. Whisky Notes has only been going for a year but Ruben has already built up a back catalogue of over 200 whiskies, including some that are only available in mainland Europe and not in the UK. Most of the blog posts are whisky reviews and these are concise yet descriptive with a little background information about the bottling included. Other articles includes whisky news and views.

whisky party logoWhisky Party
www.whiskyparty.net
Whisky Party are Mike, Mike and Dan and they have the mission to "demystify the world of scotch drinking and help folks find good whiskies at good prices". And they do it very well! The blog has a number of unique and interesting features that makes it stands out - they have a 'Whiskies under $40' series, 'Best in blog' (a regular round up of the latest interesting articles from whisky blogs around the world) and also news of tastings and bar reviews in their local New York and Chicago areas. They also include their own concise and informative tasting notes from their private whisky collections, as well as whisky news and other interesting articles. One of our Top 3 favourites.

If you regularly read these 11 fine blogs (plus Whisky For Everyone of cause!), then you have pretty much all facets of the world of whisky covered. In addition, there are many other good whisky blogs on the internet, but that we have only just discovered or know the writers less well. Check these out as again each one offers a different perspective - Dubber & Clutch, Malt Imposter, Ralfy, Scotch Blog, Scotch Chix, The Whisky Exchange Blog and Whisk(e)y Apostle. There is also the new Whisky Israel blog, where our good friend Gal battles the astronomical Israeli tax rates on alcohol to bring his expert and descriptive tasting notes. He also produces another blog in Hebrew.

Please note - all images and logos are taken from the original sites.

20 comments:

Pocket Rocket said...

Not really a blog, but I reckon Ralfy should get a mention. He must spend ages doing his video reviews. And they're usually very good!

Matt said...

Ralfy is included in the last paragraph! Have only just discovered him - as you say it's very good.
Matt

Lisa said...

Will you do "Our Top 10 Whisky Chinese Blogs" as well?

Whisky Paryt said...

Thanks for the kind words! It's been great meeting you, and of course you know we think the world of your blog.

It's an honor to be in a list like this.

WHISKYhost said...

We're honored to be mentioned among so many other great blogs. Thanks so much for reading and endorsing. I'm a huge fan of your blog and hope our paths cross in 2010.

Cheers,
Jason @ WHISKYhost

richard said...

Thanks for the inclusion! Here's hoping next year's list sees Willie Tait and the Jura team's online presence at www.facebook.com/diurachs and www.jura-pictures.com get a mention. But for this year, I'll take being in this esteemed company. Thanks again

John Hansell said...

Thanks for the kind mention, but you are much too generous. I'm no different than most of you--just someone who is passionate about whisky and likes to share this passion with others.

Dr. Whisky said...

Cheers!

On the back (so to speak) of John's comment, thank you. I have been touched by your kids, and I'm pretty sure I've touched them too.

Ralfy seems to have no shortage of free time, knowledge, and whisky puns of introduction, but one thing he needs, in my opinion, is comment activation on his site(s).

Jeff H said...

Thanks Matt and Karen! It was very nice, and telling, of you to include some of us whisky newbies along with the big guns and industry insiders.

Telling because it lends credence to the theory that there is room for participation from all angles...the experienced professionals providing knowledge and guidance, and the inexperienced hobbyists sharing their learning experiences as they go.

As I've pointed out in a couple of places on my whisky resources page...I love your blog and web site. Definitely add yourselves to the list!

Cheers,
Jeff

Scotch Hobbyist said...

Reply to Dr. Whisky's comment:

You guys, you know what? You're nuts. You're all nuts. You've been focused so hard on making it, you forgot about one thing. It's called the WHISKY. And I don't even care. You know what? So what. I don't want to hang out with a bunch of wannabe corporate sellouts. I'm gonna form my own whisky blog. And I'm gonna start a revolution. Okay? And you're gonna be a funny little footnote on my epic ass.

Oh, and BTW...if you go to YouTube to view Ralfy's videos, you can leave comments there (and get replies back from him).

Matt said...

Thanks to everyone that has commented - we are glad that you all liked the article.

Also liking the 'School of Rock' quotes now that we understand them (Thanks Jeff). Have only seen it once so don't know the quotes as well as you guys!

butephoto said...

Some excellent blogs mentioned in this thread. That's pretty much all my bookmarks right there.

Lavinia Turnbull said...

Some top blogs there.but I must give a heads up to my mate Gordon and his blog and chats at spiritofislay.net Ten years blogging cannae be bad and I have been lucky enough to meet fellow chatters from abroad. Lots of good stuff out there..old and new..a bit like the whisky too!!

Joel Caskstrength.net said...

Hey, hey! Thanks ever so much for the "big up" as we say down here in South London. Neil was saying that he bumped into you at the SMWS this week and mentioned what a pleasure it was to see you.

Let's dram soon!

Joel (and Neil)

www.caskstrength.net

Jason said...

Thanks for the update reflecting my new domain. So excited that I get too keep my award!

Slainte,
Jason @Guid Scotch Drink

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Buy Irish Whisky said...

Thanks for sharing these top whiskey blogs with us… by reading these blogs we can definitely get a lot of information… As all the blogs are written by big scholars, so we can easily get the information about the different constituents of our favorite drinks…

Anonymous said...

You might want to update your list. Dr. Whisky hasn't posted on his blog in nearly a year and the Scotch Hobbyist has been inactive for 6 months.

There are some newcomers worth mentioning too. The Casks (http://thecasks.com/), Jason's Scotch Reviews, and my favorite: The Scotch Noob (http://scotchnoob.com/).

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